Let’s Talk Vintages with Louisvale Wines

Drink or hold? It’s a question every wine lover has asked themselves at one time or another. Today we stole a few moments with the expert vintners on the Louisvale Wine team to unpack everything you need to know about vintages, what makes some specialer than others, and when to save your special treat instead of enjoying it as-is.

What is a Vintage, Anyway?

At its simplest, the vintage of a wine is an indication of the year the grapes were harvested. As weather and seasonal conditions can have a surprising impact on the wine. So even wines of the same type, from the same vines and the same winery, can taste very different year-to-year.

If a wine doesn’t have a vintage labelled, it’s likely to be a blend of several wines. These mixes are often used as ‘house wines’, as they are more consistent, and they can be a smooth-drinking value option, so don’t discount them. Sometimes they will be labelled n.v.

How Do You Know if a Vintage is Good or Bad?

Ah, if we could predict the weather, life would be sunnier all around, right? Unfortunately, we can’t- and great sunshine is essential to getting optimal ripeness and full maturity from any grape varietal. However, as with everything in life, moderation is still the key. Too much hot sun, grapes become raisinated before they ripen. Too much rain, and they can get rot or disease. Of course, not all grape varieties like the same conditions, but having great, clement, and moderate weather is usually the way to get the best out of the grapes.

If you want to be a true wine expert, you can thus guess if a vintage will be a good one or not by examining the weather for the grape-growing region that year. Or you can use a handy vintage chart to see if a vintage was normal, a little under the weather, or a fantastic one.

Is Vintage Always Important?

Vintage plays a critical role in deciding whether or not to splurge on a certain bottle to drink now, and it matters when collecting wines.

However, it’s important to remember that not all wines benefit from being held in a collection- many are meant to be drunk as the bottle is released. So always consider the wine itself, and the intention of the vinter.

Typically, however, it’s a great idea to stock up on value wines from a great year. You’ll get the best possible deals, and superlative taste.

Now that the art of winemaking has science to back it, great wineries can do a lot to salvage poor years and continue producing great-tasting wines, even if Mother Nature didn’t want to play fair that year. However, most skilled winemakers still like to let the vintage speak for itself, and express the individual quirks of personality each year brings to the table.

And there you have it! Now you have a solid grasp of everything that goes into the idea of vintage, you are even more empowered to select your favourite wines at the peak of perfection. Remember, our helpful team at Louisvale Wines loves to hear from you, so don’t be shy to reach out if you have any questions or comments!